There has been a trend lately, especially in the firearms industry, of “farming” Facebook likes via Giveaways. You know what I mean…some company that you actually like has teamed up with some “partners” to giveaway some piece of schwag. All you have to do is LIKE 30 different pages, share the post, slap your mother, shave your girlfriend’s dog, and profess undying love to your Bookface account. And then you don’t win. And then your news feed is clogged with crap you never really wanted to see from companies you don’t *really* like. So in the end, you see no benefit, but those companies can then claim they hit their milestone of LIKEs and that means that they are now “legitimate”. That they have standing in Faceland. That they are a playa, yo!

And let’s face it…you’re never gonna go back and unlike all of those companies. You’re just not.

Here’s what actually happens. You artificially inflate the standings of these companies, promote their products (which in turn is getting your seal of approval), forcing them to be seen by others that may have no interest in them at all.

I understand that this is certainly a way to market small businesses but the problem that these same businesses face is that they are putting all of their tactical eggs in one basket. They are relying on large Facebook numbers to feel a level of superiority and reach unfounded goals in an imaginary landscape.

Think of it this way: Social Media is ONE aspect of a marketing strategy. How many of those LIKES are in contact with the company on a regular basis outside of Facebook? How many of those likes will actually turn into a sale? Very few, I would imagine. So in the end, what purpose does it serve? Better yet, how many of those companies are proactively engaging their fans in useful conversations that drive sales?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a part of my ego that would love to see 50,000 likes on the Firelance Media page, but I also like to believe that I am engaged on or offline with most of the folks that like the page. All they have to do is reach out. I am a big fan of organic growth and direct engagement with my customers. Send me a note or an email and I respond.

That’s why I’ve made the conscious decision NOT to provide giveaways that require ANYTHING of my fans. The fact is, I was taught that if you’re going to give something away, you do it for free because you WANT to.

Rant aside, I will not be a hypocrite. In fact, I WILL be offering giveaways, but I will require NOTHING for it. It will not be attached to hoping I reach a LIKE Number. It WILL NOT be announced, promoted, and repromoted in the hopes of driving up my page’s numbers. It will be because I have something that I want someone else to have.

Let me also state that I have absolutely no problems with any companies that do this. But when I started Firelance, I started with a set of principles that I follow, the first of which is Good Things for Good People. I enjoy helping individuals and other companies grow. I believe that success is more than just a dollar sign. And I am convinced that we have the ability to change this industry for the better without selling our souls.

Now if you happen to join my mailing list, I won’t be mad at ya.